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Olson says council should consider asking for resignations from two airport panel members

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Brainerd City Council member Bob Olson has asked the council to consider requesting the resignations of two Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission members in a letter which raised possible violations of the open meeting law and the city’s conflict of interest policy.

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Olson has requested the conflict of interest item be placed on the agenda of Tuesday’s council meeting.

In a letter to the council members Olson cited motions moved and seconded by airport commission members Andy Larson and Kevin Goedker that reassigned the former Airport Manager Steve Sievek to a new post and appointed a third airport commission member, Rick Adair, as a temporary, volunteer airport manager. Larson is currently chair of the airport commission. Goedker is a member of the Brainerd City Council and the council’s liaison to the airport commission.

Olson wrote that the actions of the two city appointees to terminate Sievek as airport manager and later to appoint Adair as interim manager (at 25 percent of Sievek’s former salary) “provides reasons to believe there is a ‘good old boys’ club operating the airport. They continue to protect each other.”

In a separate letter to council members, Olson addressed possible open meeting law violations by the airport commission. Olson said he had asked Crow Wing County Attorney to investigate such allegations and provide a response. Olson said Ryan, in a phone conversation, had told him “there were some violations of the open meeting statutes.”

Contacted Monday, Ryan said he recalled telling Olson there were some issues that needed to be addressed. Ryan declined to comment Monday on whether he might issue an opinion on whether there were open meeting law violations.

Goedker said Monday he saw Olson’s letter but hadn’t given it much thought.

“I think there’s still time for the airport commission to address some of the questions he (Olson) has,” Goedker said.

Goedker said the airport commission chair has hired an attorney, who has asked for more time before responding to the questions.

“We want to make sure we’re doing things there properly,” Goedker said. “I don’t think anybody intentionally tried to violate the open meeting law.

“Andy (Larson) just took over as chair,” Goedker said. “As the newest member of the commission I don’t see any reason to ask for his resignation. That just does not make any sense.”

Larson could be reached for comment Monday.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or mike.orourke@brainerddispatch.com.

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Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860
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